University life is a perfect blend of flavours

Summer is full of sweet scent, blooming flowers, sweet fruits and green grass. Sara, Ruiying MA, who graduated in this season, thinks that summer is a mixture of different flavours. The four years of university life flies fast, and the tastes of the days are still fresh in her memory.

The bitterness of nostalgia is diluted by the warmth from the FHS family

Sara has lived in Harbin since she was born. Four years ago, after declining the offers from the top universities in the mainland, she left her hometown  for studying biomedical science at the University of Macau (UM), Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS). At the beginning, she was disconsolate due to the homesickness and the unfamiliar environment. “I’m glad that FHS makes me feel like being home.” She said that the companion of her batchmates who were in a small group has always made her feel warm and secured like her family members. They attended classes together, worked on assignments together, dined and travelled together after examinations or during holidays. She recalled that when she started her senior year, she was fully occupied with the studies and also the application of the master programme that she was overwhelmed with stress from different aspects. Fortunately, Sara received great support from her classmates who were eager to comfort her, listen to her, and give her advice. In addition, Sara also remembered that whenever she had problems with course selection or other academic issues, the administrative staff of FHS always gave a hand. Most importantly, the professors were always patient and supportive whenever she asked for advice during or after class. She was so grateful that her classmates, professors and other staff in FHS sweetened her university days.

Guidance from professors sugars her academic life

In the second semester of the third year, Sara joined Prof. Guokai CHEN’s lab to conduct in depth research in stem cell and cardiomyocytes. At the beginning, she was very distressed when she had to complete the project independently. With the patient guidance from Prof. Chen and his lab fellows, she gradually obtained the required research skills. Nevertheless, experiments could not be completed successfully only with handy operation skills. She said that she conducted an experiment with success previously; yet, the experiment results were not satisfactory after a great effort. Under the guidance of the research team members, she came to realize that different proteins have their own properties and need to be extracted by different methods during pre-processing. Sara said, “Prof. Chen always says that devil is in the details, that’s it.’ Every small detail can determine the success or failure in the research.  In just one and a half years, she has learned how to plan the experiments efficiently and start a research project from scratch. She has acquired not only the relevant scientific expertise, but also the abilities to effectively analyse and present results. “I felt depressed when the research process was not smooth, which happens often. Thanks to Prof. Chen who regularly discussed with me and brought me back onto the right track.”

There is no sweet without sweat

Being the Vice President of the FHS Student Association (FHSSA), Sara participated in the organisation of different activities, such as the “Health I Care” competition and the FHS orientation camp, during which she was bound to face challenges. No sweet without sweat, she developed closer friendship with her teammates in communicating with them for working out scheduling conflicts. Besides, she strengthened her leadership, coordination and planning skills. In her sophomore year, she participated in a global competition- International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM) with her classmates. During the preparation of the competition, they went through various hardships due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in Macao. Eventually, with their perseverance and determination, they completed their project successfully under the guidance of the professors and won a gold medal.

“The university life is a perfect blend of flavours, sweetness, sourness, bitterness and spiciness, and it’s a completely unique sensory experience that can only be had in that time.”
She appreciated different flavours as every flavour has its own taste. Sara will further her studies at the University of Pennsylvania for a master programme, and expects to enrich her life through different experiences. She believed that the treasure is buried right in the flavours of life.

Sara Ruiying MA

A group photo with Professors and FHSSA teammates after the “Health I Care” competition

Sara Ruiying MA and her teammates win the gold medal in iGEM

Sara Ruiying MA (3rd row,1st from right) assists in organising FHS orientation camp

Sara Ruiying MA (right) sincerely thanks Prof. Guokai CHEN (left) for his guidance